Every single day I live my life with the overbearing thought of what others think of me. It is a thing I care about far too much. Am I fat? Do I dress like someone from an insane asylum? Can I actually do my job?
We accept the way things are because each of us do it all too often. We act as if we are put on this planet to please everyone, then put us last. We don’t act on what we believe in, we act how we think we should. A life created by the perception of others – actions, appearances… everything.
It is a truly sorry state of affairs when everyone is effectively a follower, a sheep, just a person in the crowd. Surely, it’s better to stand for something?
Well, some people don’t live like this (at least for the majority of their time) and they do it by remembering these points:
No one has the time to care
It sounds sad but actually, most people are so concerned with their own lives that they really don’t have time to look at yours and scrutinise. Not only that, most people spend their time worrying too, just like you. There is simply no time.
In this fast-paced society, there isn’t a spare second to think on other people. Most the time, I know, I’m too busy worrying and trying to get my day ordered to worry about other random people’s shortcomings.
The National Science Foundation claims that people have an average of 50,000 thoughts a day. This means that even if someone thought about us ten times in one day, it’s only 0.02% of their overall daily thoughts. Practically nothing.
“You’ll worry less about what people think about you when you realise how seldom they do.” — David Foster Wallace
With social networks now dominating in our society, it is a simple truth that people are more egotistical, they think in reference to themselves. Unless you are in some way connected to them, then you are extremely unlikely to have been given a second thought.
Sometimes you just have to be yourself
Sometimes it’s wholly impossible to live up to everyone’s expectations, as I’ve found on many occasions. This has often left me feeling like an awful person and in a few cases, friend.
Despite the first point, there will always be a handful of people who do judge you and spend their lives doing so. No matter where you are, it happens. It’s a fact of life but you can stop it affecting you.
What is the worst that could happen if you did?
The chances are, absolutely nothing would change. No one is going to make your life a misery, unless they really are that awful. You’ll go on living your life in blissful happiness. No one, as stated above, has the time to say anything or do anything – it will always be an internal thought, if any judgment is made at all.
If you can accept that you can’t please everyone and you forget all the haters then it is even possible to gain respect from the people around you. You are living for something you believe in – your own happiness. People can have their opinions but at the end of the day, do you need them if they are just randomers?
Standing up for what you want and what you believe in can be so much more fulfilling. Expression is always better than a blank canvas.
“You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something in life.”— Winston Churchill
In the past two or three years, I’ve learnt that it’s better to be loved and respected by those people who you care for and call friends then to try and be liked by the whole world. There will always be people who love you for who you are, so why be someone you’re not? These people are the ones that matter and if something ever does happen to you, then you can bet on them being there regardless.
What goes around comes around
if you thought about it, how many of your thoughts actually inform the way you behave, even if they are based on a fallacy? It could be that you are creating your own self-fulling prophecy – I know I’ve more than done this.
An adamant people-pleaser all my life and over-accommodating to others – all with the hope that maybe I won’t get judged. Scared that I will. All I’ve learnt is that people dislike it, especially in the work place. It is one of the biggest turn offs known to man because if you are unsure in yourself, who is going to place their faith in you? Very few people, that’s who.
If we over-think and harm our own behaviour, then that same behaviour could be opposing people we meet or could be attracting the wrong kind of people. Simply put, if you are a push over, then you are likely to attract push overs. It’s dangerous but it’s not to say that I haven’t met some wonderful people because of it – I was just never part of the ”in” group.
It’s said that we are the average of the five people we hang out with the most. When we start to attract and associate with the same people that share our own weaknesses, it’s possible to get a bit stuck. We stop growing, because there’s no one to challenge us to be better. We start thinking that this is the norm. This is not a place I’d recommend.
But there are ways that you can change this…
Establish what matters
Establish what’s important to you in life and establish what you want to aim for. If it’s your spouse, then perhaps aim for a mortgage and kids. If it’s friends, then make sure you go on random adventures or spend a Friday night in the pub. Once you’ve done this and you become happier, you’ll simply care less.
You’ll only say ‘yes’ to the things you truly care about and that isn’t a bad place to be.
Don’t be ashamed – be you!
Now you need to put you and your values out there.
For example, I did a few presentations at work, stuck to my quirky dress sense and kept blogging what I like and enjoy writing about.
As long as you’re honest with your values and you stick to them, then you can’t go wrong.
Surround yourself with the right people
Spend time with those who inspire you, believe in you and push you in every area of your life. It’s that simple, you’ll soon notice a difference when you’re trying to figure out who these people are. It’s enlightening.
Make a list
Create a list of everything you’ve ever wanted to do in your life, whatever these are. It is best to include things that make you feel insecure or just plain scare you. Then one-by-one, you do them. Repeat.
My first step was hanging out with people from work, who I didn’t know so well. I suffer with social anxiety so this was hard for me but I did it and now I love seeing them as much as I can in lunch breaks and if plans are made after hours.
In time, you’ll conquer your fears.
No, I don’t say this because I work in the travel industry 🙂 I say it because it is worth doing.
Travelling puts you out of your comfort zone. Yeah, you may be travelling with others that offers you a little security but really you are in a foreign world with different languages, cultures and people with so many interesting prospects ahead of you.
Plan nothing – just explore and break out of your bubble.
So, start living life the way you want, be as fearless as a child, and always stand up for you and your values.
Someone needs to.
Do you think you break the mould? What are your values?